Each week the Jet Press visits with the writer for their upcoming game and asks a few questions. This week it’s no different as we ask Chris Shellcroft of Just Blog Baby, the Oakland Raiders blog, to answer 7 questions on the New York Jets matchup this Sunday.
JetPress: What happened to the Raiders in the second half last week?
Chris: Last Sunday’s second half meltdown was all about the defense. 5 Buffalo drives ended with 5 TDs. That about says it all. There were no adjustments made, no pressure applied to Ryan Fitzpatrick and no communication in the secondary. The offfense more than did its job. That painful loss falls right at the feet of Chuck Bresnahan and his unit. If this team is serious about making a playoff push then those are the types of losses that just cannot happen.
JetPress: The Raiders face the Jets this week, New England next week and then head to Houston against the Texans. How can the team turn it around or else face a 1-4 start?
Chris: One thing that has stood out about this team in recent years has been the ability to get up for the big games. I wouldn’t be surprised at all is Oakland comes out of this stretch with only one loss in three. The offense is really clicking and the defense has all the talent its just a matter of putting it all together. Where Oakland can take the advantage in every one of these contests is in the trenches. The Raiders are an old school team. Even tough the league is becoming more and more finesse what will never change is that whoever controls the line of scrimmage controls the pace at which the game is played. Hue Jackson has been building a bully and his team is poised to push around anyone that lines up opposite the Silver and Black.
JetPress: Is Darren McFadden an elite running back in the NFL?
Chris: If he can stay healthy McFadden will end this year as one of the best weapons in all of football. As a runner he’s got the speed to run by defenders but he’s just as happy to lower his shoulder and deliver punishment. As a receiver he’s got great hands, good vision and is deadly in the open field. What makes Run DMC an viable MVP candidate is that he’s a complete player. He does whatever it takes to win including blocking, being a decoy or just going out a laying his body on the line for the team. McFadden is an elite level back for sure but he’s on the cusp of becoming a franchise player.
JetPress: Denarius Moore had an outstanding game last week against the Bills. Can that continue this week if he’s put on Revis Island?
Chris: I don’t see Moore having the same success against Revis as he did in Buffalo. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me if he did do some amazing things Sunday. Since his first practice Moore has looked like a playmaker that is unafraid of any challenge. Sometimes you get rookies that are so focused on proving themselves that they don’t consider the odds. That’s the type of guy Moore is. After two weeks of camp beat writers were already proclaiming him the steal of the draft. The plays he made in Buffalo are what Denarius has been doing since day one. Jason Campbell called him the new Jacoby Ford. Here’s what scary, he looks better than Ford already.
JetPress: Who is the most important player on the Raiders defense this upcoming week?
Chris: Being that the Jets ran all over the Raiders last time these two met, I’m going to say the front four are the most important players on D. Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly have got to be blowing up running plays behind the line while Matt Shaughnessy and Lamarr Houston need to me Mark Sanchez’s face like the hot dog he downed last time in Oakland.
JetPress: What is the game plan to beat the Jets?
Chris: The Raiders are a ball control offense. They’ve got to run the rock and own the clock. In addition the defense has to set the tone by being aggressive in coverage and physical at the point of attack. Sanchez is a rhythm passer. If he gets comfortable it can be a long afternoon. However if he’s getting rocked every time he drops back he’ll be begging for more handoffs to Shonn Greene.
JetPress: Predictions for the game. Predictions for the Raiders this season.
Chris: I like the Raiders to pull a fast one on the Jets. Something tells me the coaches are planning on adding a few things that haven’t been seen on tape yet. I’m predicting a 20-10 win. Sounds crazy but this team should be out to prove something. As for the season, my guess is we’ll see plenty of uneven performances. I see a 9-7 record which, depending on how much Norv Turner slacks off, could be good enough to win the AFC West.